1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. River Cruises
  4. Why U By Uniworld Is the River Cruise Line for You
U by Uniworld's The B (Photo: Cruise Critic)

Why U By Uniworld Is the River Cruise Line for You

Executives from the Travel Corporation -- owners of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Contiki Tours -- were looking for a way to fill a gap in river cruising; one that would appeal to a modern traveler who could explore all day and dance all night. Thus, U By Uniworld was born.

Originally designated for adults 21 to 45, the fledgling line opened its fresh take on river cruising to adults of all ages when it officially launched in 2018. The fleet consists of The A (formerly Uniworld's River Ambassador), which sails on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers; and The B (formerly River Baroness), which is dedicated to sail round trip from Paris on the Seine. A forthcoming river ship, The M, is expected to sail the Mekong River in Southeast Asia.

Updated May 3, 2018

U will float your boat if you...

Enjoy Late Mornings

Early-to-bed, early-to-rise travelers might feel like the odd ones out on ships that don't really get moving until after 9 a.m. Tibetan yoga or Thera band stretches might begin on the top deck at 8:30, depending on the day, but a traditional breakfast isn't offered. Instead, there's brunch, which typically opens at 10 a.m. and encompasses the first two meals of the day in a lavish buffet spread that lasts about three hours. Announcements are never made over an intercom; instead, passengers and local guides, called U Hosts, stay in touch with a phone messaging app. Morning walking tours sometimes don’t meet until 11 a.m. -- a welcome departure time for the group that didn't get back from their night in Amsterdam until 5 a.m.

Love Nightlife

For the majority of a U By Uniworld sailing, the ship stays docked in port overnight. That means that anyone looking to explore city centers by night -- whether it's the heralded late-night lounges of the Marais or the storied "Peanut Bar" of Koblenz -- can do so without much fear of missing the ship. Post-dinner orientation walks of city nightlife are led by your U Hosts, the people living there, so you'll know how to avoid the tourist traps. Onboard, ships feature hosted DJ nights in the lounge or silent discos in the rooftop bar.

Like to Socialize

For those who have never cruised, or have only sailed ocean cruises, river ships might seem small; the capacity of U By Uniworld's ships is a maximum of about 80 passengers. Beyond the cozy group size, the onboard atmosphere of a U sailing fosters a sense of comradery that means you're likely to know just about everyone by name -- maybe even their favorite drink. If you're part of the sailing's WhatsApp group, photos and videos can be shared instantaneously over the ship's Wi-Fi. Family-style plates at dinner (no two-tops in the restaurant) and intimate shore excursion offerings give U passengers plenty of opportunities to chat, dine and explore with like-minded travelers. It's possible to keep to yourself, but you'll be the exception.

Want Active Excursions

Beyond the included walks, many river cruise lines rely on buses to transport passengers to additional excursions like castle tours or museums. Because U By Uniworld is geared toward a younger, more active demographic, the ships' bicycles are put to good use. Brisk hikes and 10-mile bike rides will replace the views from your coach window. Even at museums like Germany's Zollverein Coal Mine Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, cycling is used to traverse the scenic grounds in addition to a guided tour. Not every excursion is super active, and sometimes you might need to hop on a bus, but at least there are plenty of options to sightsee while getting your blood pumping.

Care About the Environment

As more and more cruise lines bolster their programs to "Save the Waves," U By Uniworld has kicked off their brand with very few disposable plastics and with a focus on sustainability. Passengers will have to request straws and, when they do, they are made of paper. You won't see include programs and menus -- U has made the move to digital-only information. A limited menu is offered each night for dinner, using only fresh and local ingredients. In-cabin bath products are a brand called BeeKind, which supports research into sustainable bee pollination. The line has also promised that reusable water bottles will be provided to guests so they can hydrate without creating waste.

U probably isn't the line for you if you...

Need Downtime

The freedom of choice means you could sleep in till noon and then sail onboard sipping a Lavender Collins from the rooftop lounge. But, when your new travel buddies are all heading to a wine tasting at a "Game of Thrones" filming location or heading out to a converted parking garage that's now a "beach bar" in the center of Frankfurt, it's hard not to have a little FOMO. Much of what makes a U By Uniworld cruise so exciting, can also make it exhausting for anyone who needs a break from long days spent touring followed by equally long evenings of socializing.

Want Everything Included

To keep costs down, there's less included on U By Uniworld than some other river cruise lines. Lunch is never offered, which can be a bit tricky on all-day excursions. There's no beer and wine with dinner, like on some other river cruises, and most activities onboard and ashore require an additional fee. This means that budgeting for extras, like the unavoidable cocktail bill. Still, an alfresco rooftop cinema, a fun photo booth and gratuities are a few things bundled into the cruise fare.

Find a Cruise

Popular on Cruise Critic

6 Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid
You might expect loud noises, close quarters and crazy manoeuvres in the dance club onboard your cruise ship -- but not in your cabin. Even if you don't plan to spend much time there, it should be a restful and private place so you can maintain that much-needed holiday stamina. To help you do so, we've compiled a list of cabins you'll want to avoid booking if closet-like dimensions or scraping chair sounds overhead aren't appealing to you. Heed our advice, and you might be feeling a bit less claustrophobic and a tad more refreshed come disembarkation.
How To Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin: What You Need to Know
Your room on a cruise ship is called a cabin (or stateroom) and is akin to a hotel room, but typically much smaller. Choosing a cruise ship cabin can be fun and challenging at the same time, and not just a little bit frustrating on occasion. Cabins fall into different types or "categories," and some cruise lines will present as many as 20 or more categories per ship. Before you get overwhelmed, it's helpful to remember that there are essentially only four types of cabins on any cruise vessel: Inside: the smallest-sized room, with no window to the outside Outside: a room with a window or porthole (a round window) with a view to the outside, often similarly sized to an inside cabin or a bit larger; also known as oceanview Balcony: a room featuring a verandah that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks
11 Best Luxury Cruise Ships
The moment you step aboard a luxury cruise ship, a hostess is at your arm proffering a glass of bubbly while a capable room steward offers to heft your carry-on as he escorts you to what will be your home-away-from-home for the next few days. You stow your things (likely in a walk-in closet) and then emerge from your suite to get the lay of the ship. As you walk the decks, friendly crew members greet you ... by name. How can that be? You just set foot onboard! First-class, personalised service is just one of the hallmarks of luxury cruise lines. You can also expect exotic itineraries, varying degrees of inclusivity in pricing, fine wines and gourmet cuisine as well as universally high crew-to-passenger ratios. That being the case, you might think any old luxury cruise ship will do, but that's not quite true. Like people, cruise ships have their own unique personalities -- and some will be more suited to your holiday style than others. Lines like SeaDream might not offer the most spacious suites, but their intimate yachts can stealthily visit ports that large ships can't manage. Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises are owned by the same parent company but Regent offers a completely inclusive holiday experience, while Oceania draws travellers with a more independent streak. Take a look at Cruise Critic's list of best luxury cruise lines and ships to see which one resonates with you.